Hey Barbara, That's great!! Now... how to practice it?... because any new skill needs lots of practice to perfect..
Actually, I think it is possible to practice this, without getting hurt.. The trick is to employ our imagination. Set up a video tape in our brains.. play it over and over.. we're riding, we're galloping, an explosion happens to the right, our horse shies left, we fly, and with the benefit of slow motion, tuck ourselves into the little ball that Barbara demonstrated, and hit the ground rolling off our right shoulder. Perfect! We leap up, unhurt, brush of the dust, and our horse whinnies and trots back to us to snuffle our chest.
Play the tape over and over, editing and perfecting, adding in the details.. then change the setting, change the plot and do it again. We're galloping bareback on the beach, heck! Why not throw in bridleless! It can't hurt!.. Our horse is exhilirated but nervous.. a wave crashes around his feet, he does a sudden skid stop, and we fly over his head, tucking ourselves into that ball, and hit the soft sand rolling, over onto our feet and up, laughing! We're sitting on our horse with the reins draped on his neck.. chatting with some friends, as our horse dozes.. the wind bangs the barn door shut and the horse leaps sideways in the air.. we depart sideways in the other direction... and then .. and then...
This way we can do both wise things at once.. We can practice the art of falling off, just in case.... While also doing everything possible to protect ourselves from actually ever falling off.
Mental practice like this can, I believe, hugely increase the chances of getting it right and being unhurt if the worst ever does happen..
I also suspect that many of us do the opposite.. imagine the fall and then either shut down our imagination in fear. "Oh NO! Let's not go there!" or imagine ourselves not mastering the situation.
I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,
But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]